« AnteriorContinuar »
JUNE 17, 1836,]
is contained in two words: it is our CREDIT SYSTEM. of the democratic party throughout the Union, when I But for this, our canals and our railroads, our great works say, I believe they neither expect nor desire any such of internal improvement of every kind, could never thing. What, then, do they expect and desire? I have been made. The Erie canal, the wonder of the answer, no more nor less than what every real friend to his age, must have remained a mere project in the imagi-country is willing to adopt, namely, a preservation, and, nation of its projectors. That stupendous work, which at the same time, a regulation of the credit system. In has added millions upon millions to the value of prop- all such measures of reform I will go as far as he who erty within the extended sphere of its influence, must goes farthest. Preserve and regulate, but not destroy, have remained unexecuted but for the credit system. is my motto. Enlarge your specie basis; introduce, as But for this system, those great works throughout the far as practicable, a gold currency, by the prohibition of Union, by which we have conquered time and space, | small notes; provide means for coining at the mint; take could never have been accomplished. It is by this all proper measures to prevent excessive issues of bank means that the giant arms of this young and growing re- / paper, and the unnecessary increase of bank incorporapublic have piled prosperity upon prosperity, moun- tions; repeal your restraining laws, so as to permit the tains high, as the giants of old piled Ossa upon Pelion; free employment and investment of foreign capital. not, like them, with a view to scale the heavens, but Whatever danger there may be, is to be found in the that she might place on its lofty summit the light of abuse of the system, and not in its existence. Guard liberty, to shed its lustre and its benign influence against these abuses, and correct them when discovered. throughout the world. Sir, that lustre has been shed, An entire abandonment of the credit system, and a that influence has been felt, and is now being felt, in return to a sole and exclusive metallic currency, if it different portions of the globe. Under its magic were practicable, would produce desolation and destruc. touch thrones have trembled, dynasties bave been over- tion from one extremity of the Union to the other. turned, and crowns have fallen. The credit system is Such notions ought not, cannot, must not, prevail. the distinguishing feature between despotism and liber- Mr. President, I hope I shall be pardoned for this dity; it is the offspring of free institutions; it is found to gression from the main subject of discussion. My exist, and its influence is felt, in proportion to the free. | apology will be found in the course and character of dom enjoyed by any people. By freedom I do not this debate. The question again recurs, what disposimean unregulated, unrestrained, natural liberty; but tion shall be made of the surplus revenue! That there that freedom which is founded on just and equitable will be a surplus, seems to have been conceded or Jaws; where the rights of personal security, of private taken for granted on all hands, except by the Senator property, and religious toleration, are guarantied to from Missouri. It was anticipated by the Secretary of every individual; where there is a general diffusion of the Treasury, and he recommended a mode of disposing knowledge, and the existence of public and private mo of it. What was that proposition? Why, sir, in sub. rality. These are the elements, and they together form stance, that the Secretary should go into the market, by the basis of public confidence on which the credit sys. himself or agent, and invest it in the State stocks. This tem rests. This is the invention of modern times. proposition was introduced by my honorable colleague;
In the old Governments of Europe, where liberty and if a surplus was not anticipated, why introduce a never found a resting place, credit was unknown. To proposition to dispose of that which it was supposed would the United States has been left the honor of maturing have no existence? The proposition received but little and perfecting this system. To the United States, also, favor in the Senate. I will not attempt to recapitulate is the honor due of having first applied the system of the objections which were made to it. Some of them steam navigation. The effects on the general prosperity struck me as more imaginary than real. I did not apof the nation have been as sensibly felt in the one case preciate them as other gentlemen did. In the vote as in the other; and he who should at this day recom which was taken upon my honorable colleague's propmend an entire abandonment of our credit system for a osition, we found ourselves in a lean minority of four. sole and exclusive metallic currency, would be deemed Being satisfied that something ought to be done, I deno less visionary than he who should attempt to substi. | termined to unite in a proposition which should be more tute a Pennsylvania wagon for a locomotive or a canal generally satisfactory to my political friends. The one packet, or should endeavor to stem the resistless cur. reported by the select committee was rent of the Mississippi in a flat boat, instead of those is that the money which shall be in the Treasury of splendid palaces wbich now move majestically on its the United S:ates on the first day of January, eighteen waters. Shall we, then, Mr. President, check this tide hundred and thirty-seven, reserving the sum of five milof prosperity, by the introduction of new and untried lions of dollars, shall be deposited with the several States, schemes! Shall we not be content with the necessaries, in proportion to their respective amounts of population, the comforts, the conveniences, and the luxuries of life, as ascertained by the last census, according to the prowhich are so widely diffused tbroughout this whole vision of the second section of the first article of the concountry: Shall we attempt to overthrow, subvert, and stitution; and the Secretary of the Treasury shall deliver destroy, a system which has produced all these blessings; | the same to such persons as the several States may auwhich has brought happiness and plenty to the door of thorize to receive it, on receiving certificates of deposevery man; and that, too, for the purpose of adopting ite, signed by the competent authorities of such State, some of the exploded doctrines of the political econo- each for such amount, and in such form, as the Secretamists of Europe? Sir, you might as well attempt tory of the Treasury may prescribe, which shall set forth apply the common law of England, which was born and
and express the obligation of the State to pay the amount nurtured on the Thames, to the father of waters in this thereof to the United States, or their assigns; and which western world, and to our mighty inland seas, compared said certificates it shall be competent for the Secretary with which the boasted streams and lakes of Europe of the Treasury, in the name and behalf of the United dwindle into rills and ponds beside them; yes, these vast States, to sell and assign, whenever so directed by any inland seas, into which, in the language of a distinguish- act of Congress; all sales and assignments, however, to ed Senator of my own State, you might cast the whole be ratable, and in just and equal proportions among all land of the common law, without producing a ripple. the States, according to the amounts received by thein, Sir, I believe I speak the almost unanimous sentiment of respectively, and all such certificates of deposite shall be my political friends in this Senale, when I say they in- subject to, and shall bear an interest of five per centum tend no such thing. I believe I speak the sentimenti per annum, payable half yearly, from the time of such SENATE.]
(JUNE 17, 1836.
sale and assignment, and shall be redeemable at the would continue to a remote period, beyond the current pleasure of the States issuing the same."
expenses of the Government. The importance of inThat part of it which required an act of Congress be- ternal improvements was duly appreciated; but, inas. fore the Secretary could sell and assign the certificates much as the appropriation of money for that purpose was deemed objectionable. The object was to keep the by Congress was necessarily unequal, and inasmuch as money so far under the control of the Secretary as to some entertained doubts as to the constitutional power
m to use the means when necessary. I accord- of Congress thus to appropriate it, the President very ingly offered an amendment, which was adopted, by properly expressed the opinion " that the most safe, which the Secretary was authorized, on behalf of the just, and federal disposition which could be made of the United States, to sell and transfer the certificates when surplus revenue would be its apportionment among the ever it should be necessary, for want of other money in
several States according to their ratio of representation; the Treasury to meet appropriations made by Congress and should this measure not be found warranted by the This amendment removed the principal obiections to the constitution, that it would be expedient to propose to bill. It placed the avails of the money in the power of
the States an amendment authorizing it." The Presithe Secretary, whenever it should be required to meet
dent seemed fully to appreciate the expediency of the such appropriations. If there should be means sufficient
measure of apportionment of the surplus revenue among in the Treasury to meet them, then of course the money
the States, but cautiously and properly reserved the would not be wanted. It would never be called for un
constitutional question. After the delivery of this mestil there was a deficiency of means
sage, public attention was turned to the subject. ComLet us now inquire, Mr. President, whether this prop
ing from so high a source, it received due consideration, osition, so amended, is one which ought to be adopted.
and those who doubted its expediency, suggested their The idea of returning to the States any surplus revenue
objections. Here the matter rested till the next session which has been collected from the people, by indirect
1 of Congress, when the President, in bis annual message taxation, is neither unheard of nor novel." We have high
of December, 1830, again recurs to the subject. He adauthority as to the expediency of the measure; and if the verts to the opinion expressed in his previous message, proposition under consideration, which is a mere depos
that there would be is a considerable surplus in the ite, and not a distribution, involves no constitutional dif.
Treasury beyond what may be required for its current ficulty, then we have the same authority in favor of its
service;" and adds, “I have had no cause to change adoption. This.authority is one which no friend of the
that opinion, but much to confirm it.” He again repeats administration will lightly disregard. President Jackson,
the recommendation of the adoption of some plan for in his message of December, 1829, has the following
the distribution of the surplus funds which may, at any language:
time, remain in the Treasury after the national debt “After the extinction of the public debt, it is not
shall have been paid, among the States in proportion to probable that any adjustment of the tariff, upon princi the number of their representatives, to be applied by ples satisfactory to the people of the Union, will, until
them to objects of internal improvement." The Presi. a remote period, if ever, leave the Government without dent then proceeds to answer the objections which bave a considerable surplus in the Treasury beyond what may
been made to the recommendation contained in bis forbe required for its current service. As, then, the peri
mer message, and repeated in this. Those objections od approaches when the application of the revenue to
are the same which have been urged against this bill, the payment of debt will cease, the disposition of the
and he refutes them satisfactorily and triumphantly. surplus will present a subject for the serious delibera
It is due to him that I should give his views in his own tion of Congress, and it may be fortunate for the country
language. They are as follows: that it is yet to be decided. Considered in connexion “I have heretofore felt it my duty to recommend the with the difficulties wbich have heretofore attended ap
adoption of some plan for the distribution of the surplus propriations for purposes of internal improvement, and funds which may at any time remain in the Treasury, with those which this experience tells us will certainly
after the national debt shall bave been paid, among the arise whenever power over such subjects may be exer States, in proportion to the number of their representcised by the General Government, it is hoped that it may atives, to be applied by them to objects of internal imlead to the adoption of some plan which will reconcile / provement. the diversified interests of the States, and strengthen the “Although this plan has met with favor in some porbonds which unite them. Every member of the Union, tions of the Union, it has also elicited objections which in peace and in war, will be benefited by the improve merit deliberate consideration. A brief notice of these ment of inland navigation and the construction of bigh- objections bere, will not, therefore, I trust, be regard d ways in the several States. Let us, then, endeavor to at. | as out of place. tain this benefit in a mode which will be satisfactory to
“ They rest, as far as they have come to my knowl. all. That bitherto adopted has, by many of our fellow. edge, on the following grounds: 1st, an objection to the citizens, been deprecated as an infraction of the consti- | ratio of distribution; 2d, an apprehension that the existtution, while by others it has been viewed as inexpedient. ence of such a regulation would produce improvident All feel that it has been employed at the expense of har. and oppressive taxation to raise the funds for distribumony in the legislative councils.
tion; 3d, that the mode proposed would lead to the con“ To avoid these eyils, it appears to me that the most struction of works of a local nature, to the exclusion of safe, just, and federal disposition which could be made such as are general, and as would, consequently, be of a of the surplus revenue would be its apportionment among more useful character; and, last, that it would create a disthe several States according to their ratio of representa creditable and injurious dependance on the part of the tion; and should this measure not be found warranted by State Governments upon the Federal power. Of those who the constitution, that it would be expedient to propose object to the ratio of representation as the basis of disto the States an amendment authorizing it. I regard an tribution, some insist tbat the importations of the respecappeal to the source of power, in cases of real doubt, tive States would constitute one that would be more and where its exercise is deemed indispensable to the equitable; and others, again, that the extent of their general welfare, as among the most sacred of all our ob respective territories would furnish a standard which ligations."
would be more expedient, and sufficiently equitable. From this it would seem that a surplus was antici. The ratio of representation presented itself to my mind, pated after the extinction of the public debt, and that it and it still does, as one of obvious equity, because of its
June 17, 1836.]
being the ratio of contribution, whether the funds to be surplus; the surplus is on hand, and it will continue to distributed be derived from the customs or from direct increase far beyond our appropriations. It is in vain to taxation. It does not follow, however, that its adoption shut our eyes to the fact; we may deceive ourselves, but is indispensable to the establishment of the system pro- we cannot deceive others. This surplus cannot be disposed. There may be considerations appertaining to posed of by appropriations, unless of the most extravathe subject which would render a departure, to some gant character. Will the people tolerate appropriations extent, from the rule of contribution proper. Nor is for the mere purpose of getting rid of a surplus? No, it absolutely necessary that the basis of distribution besir, I apprehend not. They will justify their representconfined to one ground. It may, if, in the judgment of atives in making liberal appropriations for all objects those whose right it is to fix it, it be deemed politic of national defence. Extravagant expenditures, for the and just to give it that character, have regard to sole object of disposing of the surplus revenue, are, in several.
my judgment, far more dangerous than any objections "In my first message I stated it to be my opinion that which I have heard urged against a distribution amongst 'It is not probable that any adjustment of the tariff, upon the States. These expenditures beget the necessity of principles satisfactory to the people of the Union, will, continuing them, and by and by we shall be obliged to until a remote period, if ever, leave the Government raise the tariff, and increase the burdens of the people, without a considerable surplus in the Treasury beyond for the purpose of carrying out the extravagances with what may be required for its current service. I have wbich we improvidently commenced. Sir, the people had no cause to change that opinion, but much to con of this country will never approve such a principle. firm it. Should these expectations be realized, a suita- What, then, shall be done? We have a large surplus ble fund would thus be produced for the plan under on hand. It will be much larger on the 1st of January consideration to operate upon; and, if there be no such next. It is in vain to wish we had it not. It is in our fund, its adoption will, in my opinion, work no injury hands, and we must dispose of it. No matter by what to any interest; for I cannot assent to the justness of means we got it—no matter whether by indiscreet or the apprehension that the establishment of the propo improvident legislation. We have the surplus-call it sed system would tend to the encouragement of improv accidental, or incidental, or unavoidable. The question ident legislation of the character supposed. Whatever is, What shall we do with it? Shall we throw it into the the proper authority, in the exercise of constitutional ocean? No. Shall we burn it up? No. What, then, power, shall at any time hereafter decide to be for the shall we do with it? Shall we leave it to accumulate in general good, will, in that as in other respects, deserve the deposite banks! There are weighty objections and receive the acquiescence and support of the whole against it. There is no reason for keeping in those country; and we have ample security that every | banks any more than is required for the current disabuse of power in that regard, by the agents of the bursements of the Government. That will always be a people, will receive a speedy and effectual corrective large amount. Beyond that, it is neither profitable to at their bands. The views which I take of the future, the banks nor useful to the people. Most of the banks founded on the obvious and increasing improvement of are limited in their discounts by their charters. The all classes of our fellow.citizens in intelligence and in elements which enter into their discounts are, their cappublic and private virtue, leave me without much appre ital, their circulation, and their deposites. In the city hension on that head.
of New York their deposites are large and their circula"I do not doubt that those who come after us will tion small. In fact, their circulation is a mere bagatelle. be as much alive as we are to the obligations up n all Well, sir, when their discounts run up to the limit prethe trustees of political power to exempt those for scribed by their charters, the surplus deposites are of no whom they act from all unnecessary burdens; and as further use to them nor to the public. It is true, in the sensible of the great truth, that the resources of the na-l city of New York, they have been used so far as prution, beyond tbose required for immediate and necessary 1 dence and a due regard to the calls of the Government purposes of Government, can nowhere be so well de-would permit. posited as in the pockets of the people."
The surplus, beyond what the deposite banks could · I am glad that my friend from Virginia (Mr. Rives] use, and beyond what was required to meet the drafts referred to this message as containing the grounds of l of the Treasury, has been loaned, without interest, to his argument. I should have referred to it, if he had l other banks, on which they have discounted; and the not: for this recommendation was strongly impressed community have thus had the benefit. Alter the late on my mind, although I had not seen it from the time it calamitous fire in the city of New York, I have no doubt was delivered till this day. But I was a member of the the banks have discounted on these funds, and thereby Senate of New York at that period, and well remember essentially relieved the commercial interests of the city. that the doctrines of this message formed the basis of The idea that these funds, to the amount of millions, our Governor's message on this subject. The reports have been hoarded up by the banks, is as improbable as of our committees on internal improvements, in both it is untrue. They have been used, so far as prudence Houses, assumed the same ground. I believe the con- would permit; but still their benefits in this way are very stitutional question was all along reserved; but, aside / unequally distributed amongst the whole people. If the from that, no one at that time seemed to doubt the ex money has been collected, by indirect taxation, from the pediency or the policy of the measure. I have been people, it is right that they should participate, in the subsequently led to doubt both the expediency and pol-same ratio, in its benefits. This cannot be done through icy of a general system of distribution amongst the States the deposite banks. I see no mode left so just and of the surplus revenue of the Government. I have fear proper, and so unexceptionable, as the one prescribed ed that it might create a too great dependance of the
in this bill, namely, a deposite with the States. If there States on the General Government. I will not now say
were any thing objectionable in a distribution, as recomany thing of the constitutional question, farther than to mended by the President, there would not be, as it apexpress my opinion that Congress has no power to raise pears to me, in a deposite with the States. The Presi. revenue for the purpose of distribution. But when we dent, in all his messages, has been perfectly consistent. find a surplus on our hands, without any design from He has never recommended a general system of distriour legislation to produce it, it presents a different ques- bution. He has merely pointed out a mode of disposing tion. The time has now arrived, the contingencies have of any surplus which might be unavoidably on hand be. now happened, when the President anticipated such a l yond the wants of the Government, after the extinction SENATE.)
[June 17, 1836.
of the national debt. He has always contended against of distribution. Viewing this bill as, in effect, assuming the policy of raising revenue for the purpose of distri- the right not only to create a surplus for that purpose, bution, but has, at different times, suggested the expe- but to divide the contents of the Treasury among the diency of such a disposition of any surplus which might States without limitation, from wbatever source they be in the Treasury, without any design on the part of may be derived, and asserting the power to raise and the Government to produce it for such a purpose. This appropriate money for the support of every State Gov. distinction has been kept up all along by the President, ernment and institution, as well as for making every in all his messages in which he has had occasion to touch local improvement, however trivial, I cannot give it my the subject. It is a distinction by which he has stood assent." justified, and will stand justified, before the people, as From all this it appears that the President is in favor long as he maintains that consistency, that upright, hon- of a disposition of an incidental or unavoidable surplus, est course, which has thus far characterized all his public provided, always, it can be constitutionally done. i will acts, and which, I trust, will characterize them in future. not stop to inquire whether such a distribution of such a His doctrines, thus far, on this subject, have been ap surplus be constitutional or not. It is not necessary in proved; and the distinction to which I have alluded, reference to the proposition contained in this bill. This and which can be traced through all his messages, is one proposition is not a distribution by which the money sound in itself, and one perfectly understood by the becomes absolutely the property of the States, and people of the United States. In his veto message on the which is never again to be returned, and which the land bill, in 1832, I find the same distinction; and here, States are under no obligation to return to the United too, it is proper to add that he suggested doubts, as he States; but it is a mere deposite with the States of the had done before, of its constitutionality; but the distinc- surplus revenue, incidentally and unavoidably on hand, tion between returning to the people an unavoidable by which the States acquire no property in it. It resurplus of revenue, paid in by them, and creating a sur-mains the property of the United States just as fully and plus for the purpose of distribution among the States, is as perfectly as if it were in the immediate custody of the clearly taken and kept up, in perfect accordance with Secretary of the Treasury. The States become the what he had said on former occasions. I most beartilymere depositories. Now, as to the constitutional power approve of the doctrines contained in that message. I of Congress to direct the surplus revenue of the Governam fully sensible of the dangers to be apprehended from ment, incidentally and unavoidably in the Treasury, to a general distribution system in regard to a surplus cre- be deposited whenever and wherever it pleases, I can. ated for the purpose of such distribution. The Presi not for one moment entertain a particle of doubt. It is dent's reasoning on that subject is perfectly conclusive the duty of the administration of the Government, whento my mind. Amongst other things, he says:
ever they find such a fund on hand, to take care of it " It has been supposed that, with all the reductions in and preserve it--to keep it safely till it is wanted for the our revenue which could be speedily effected by Con- legitimate uses of the Government. Those uses are to gress, without injury to the substantial interests of the be judged of by Congress, and its appropriations are country, there might be, for some years to come, a sur. indicative of what it deems proper objects to which it plus of moneys in the Treasury, and that there was, in should be applied. Until it is wanted for such appropriprinciple, no objection to returning them to the people ations, it is the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury, by whom they were paid. As the literal accomplish-acting under the advice of the Executive, to keep it ment of such an object is obviously impracticable, it was safely. Unless the places of deposite are prescribed by thought admissible, as the nearest approximation to it, law, he takes upon himself the responsibility of selecting to hand them over to the State Governments, the more them; but if Congress sees fit to aci, it may direct such immediate representatives of the people, to be by them places as, in its wisdom, shall seem most meet and applied to the benefit of those to whom they properly proper. Now, sir, I hold that Congress can constitubelonged. The principle and the object was to return tionally direct the public money to be deposited wherto the people an unavoidable surplus of revenue whichever it pleases. It may direct it to be deposited in the might have been paid by them under a system which Bank of England, in the State banks, in the mint of the could not at once be abandoned; but even this resource, United States, or in the treasuries of the several States. which at one time seenied to be almost the only alterna Congress, whenever it undertakes to direct on this subtive to save the General Government from grasping un- ject, is the sole judge of the place of deposite. It would Jimited power over internal improvements, was suggest intend, unquestionably, to select such places as are pered with doubts of its constitutionality.
fectly safe; it would not discharge its duty to the people, “But this bill assumes a new principle. Its object is whose representatives they are, and wliose money it is, not to return to the people an unavoidable surplus of unless it selected places of deposite which were perfectly revenue paid in by them, but to create a surplus for dis safe. Let me ask, Can there be any safer depositories tribution among the States. It seizes the entire pro- than the States? I answer, No. The stability of this ceeds of one source of revenue, and sets them apart as a Government depends on the stability of the States; it surplus, making it necessary to raise the moneys for cannot exist without them. They, therefore, afford the supporting the Government, and meeting the general very best and highest security which we can have for charges, from other sources. It even throws the entire the safe keeping as well as the safe return of the money land system upon the customs for its support, and makes which may be intrusted to them, respectively. It is no the public lands a perpetual charge upon the Treasury objection to the constitutional power of Congress thus It does not return to the people moneys accidentally or to dispose of the public money, that it is deposited rataunavoidably paid by them to the Government, by which bly with the States. So far as constitutional right is they are not wanted; but compels the people to pay concerned, looking at this matter as a mere deposite, moneys into the Treasury for the mere purpose of crea- Congress could order it to be, deposited in such proporting a surplus for distribution to their State Govern- tions as it pleased; but the very object of thus deposit
ing the surplus with the States is, that we thereby have
the best security for its safe keeping, and the best guar" However willing I might be that any unavoidable antee for its sure return when requireil; and inasmuch surplus in the Treasury should be returned to the people as this incidental or unavoidable surplus, as the President through their State Governments, I cannot assent to the terms it, has been collected by indirect taxation out of principle that a surplus may be created for the purpose l the people, it is but just and equitable that some rule
JUNE 17, 1836.]
should be adopted, in depositing it with the States, that people will never rest satisfied that it shall behoarded up shall give to them equal benefits, so far as incidental there; and it would in that case be of no use to the banks benefits are to be derived from becoming the deposito to have it. I take it for granted, then, it must be used. ries of it.
How far such a use of money, wbich has been collected If we should adopt the same ratio that we would in from the people, would be deemed a just and equitaan absolute distribution, provided we had the constitu- ble use of it in regard to the great body of them, I leave tional power to distribute it, it would be no argument to the American people to judge. In the use of such against the constitutional power of Congress thus to de- means there is more or less favoritism; and the desire of
As to the constitutional power of Congress the banks to make the most of it, especially if an interest over this subject, I cannot for one moment doubt; I is to be charged on it in their hands, would tend strongly will not suffer myself to doubt. No one I have heard towards those extravagant and wild speculations, about has suggested any constitutional doubt, and no one, in which gentlemen have so feelingly declaimed. If this my judgment, can place such an objection before the money should be loaned out to the communities where people in a way that they can comprehend it, or feel these deposite banks are located, will it not be seen at the force of it. From this view of the matter, I feel jus- once that the business of those places will be more or tified in saying that I am sustained in my support of the less extended, according to the means employed? Supproposition contained in this bill, by the principles laid pose, then, when these funds to such an enormous down in the several messages of the President to which amount are thus loared out, and the Government should I have referred; and backed by such authority, and from want the money, can these banks respond, on notice a deep settled conviction of the importance of the meas- given, to the call? If they can, it will be by reason of ure, I cannot hesitate as to the vote I shall give. If this a sudden call on their debtors. What will be the conplan be not adopted, I ask gentlemen by what mode will sequence of such a call? We can readily foresee it. they dispose of this surplus? If there be any who do The whole money market will be disturbed. Like the not believe there will be a surplus, (and this number sudden expansion and contraction of bank issues and must be very small,) to them I say, the plan proposed bank discounts at all times, they would convulse the can do no harm in that event, because there will be noth whole commercial community. Those convulsions are ing on which it can operate. If the sentiment were not confined to the communities in which they happen; unanimous, or any thing like it, that there will be no sur. | their effects are felt every where. You cannot strike plus, I would not then adopt any measure in relation to a blow at the city of New York, which will not be felt, it, when there was no probability of its being required. | not only through the whole State, but throughout the But this is a very different case. No rational man can whole Union. doubt but that there will be a large surplus, unless! But it may be said, and I believe has been said, in the our appropriations are made for the express purpose of course of this debate, that this money will not be needgetting rid of it; and, of course, in a very extravaganted by the Government, and will not be called for from manner. I again ask, what shall we do with it? It is in | the banks. So much the worse. The longer such an vain to make objections to this proposition, unless gen- / immense sum is left to accumulate and to be used by tlemen will condescend to point out some other mode of them, the worse it is. But, Mr. President, public sen. disposing of the public money. If none is suggested, timent, which is generally right, demands that some and the present bill be not adopted, the money must re other disposition be made of this surplus revenue. main in the deposite banks, without legal regulation, and the people are jealous enough of banks at all times, subject to all the clamor which has been, and which will but are peculiarly so of those, at this time, which hold hereafter be, made against them. I here repeat, as I have such vast treasures which belong to them. Unless some before said, I have entire confidence in the deposite other disposition be made of this surplus, suspicions will banks. But no one can hesitate to say, and it is no dis- go abroad that the money is kept there for improper paragement to any banks to say, that this vast and accu | purposes, and from improper motives. We know there mulating treasure is more secure in the treasuries of the is no ground for such suspicion. But if it exist, whether several States. With the confidence which I place in the true or false, the effect is the same. Its tendency is to security of the deposite banks, it would not be surpri- agitate the public mind, and a consequent derangement sing if I should be in favor of leaving it there; but that of the moneyed concerns of the country. I can readily gentlemen who profess to look upon all banks with more foresee that, if Congress adjourns without regulating or less distrust should be willing to leave it there, in the deposite banks by law, and without disposing of this stead of depositing it with the States, is to me a matter surplus revenue, the whole country will be agitated by of astonishment.
this all-important question, and we shall have to Some gentlemen, when pressed upon this point, and encounter another scene of panic and distress, and asked, what will you do? are ready to say, leave it till thereby derange the currency, and more or less affect the next session of Congress. Why leave it till the next every interest in the country. No matter whether there session of Congress lemphatically ask. If there is to be any just ground for such agitation or not, such is the be a large surplus in the Treasury on the 1st of January state of parties and of party feeling that we cannot hope next, it is our duty to the banks themselves, as well as to be rid of it, however much we may deprecate its our duty to our country, to make early arrangements for existence. Sir, I live in a commercial community. I its disposition. If it is to be deposited with the States, feel that I know something of its interests, and I am anthe banks ought to know it, that they may be prepared willing, for any consideration whatever, that this all-enfor it at the time fixed for that purpose. If it is to be grossing topic should any longer be made the sport of left with them, and no change is hereafter to be made, party, to the great detriment of the paramount interests they ought equally to know it; for their arrangements in of society. I am unwilling that such considerations relation to the management of their own means would shall, by designing politicians, be mingled in the apdepend more or less on the fact, whether they were to proaching presidential contest, and that the comretain the means of the Government. So that, in any mencement of the next session of Congress shall be point of view, it is all-important that the question be the singal for increased and increasing excitement now settled. Every important interest of the country till it is closed. Sir, public confidence in our banks, requires it. If it be not now arranged, it will be pro- | as well as in our political institutions, becomes imductive of the most alarming consequences. If this mo pairert by such constant assaults; and when that is imney is thus suffered to accumulate in these banks, the paired, every interest must suffer. I cannot, therefore,